Sunday, February 28, 2016

"Tails" from the Doghouse
Birth of a Cone...
Unfortunately the loss of the last cone allowed an over sized paw access to an itchy eye, and rubbed it was. I don't know if you've ever tried to stop 130 lbs of determined Barnaby from rubbing and itch, if so then you'll know its to all intents and purposes, impossible. It doesn't help that he's four legs and one would think that the back left is out of the question when scratching the right eye - not for Barnaby's!
So there we were, both distressed, him by the itch, me watching him scratch it - when suddenly - inspiration hit (Fortunately not knocking me over) "Why not make my own cone?" - In less time than it takes to tell I had abandoned the mug of best Costa Rican and sallied forth in search of bendable plastic. Descending into the dungeon, armed with only good intentions and where only cats survive, I descended the stairs, avoided the voided into litter and fought of giant cardboard boxes whose contents had long departed yet one habitually saves the box it came in. ("We must save it in case it has to go back! - Actually, I might start a business of keeping boxes and receipts until we get the email saying the contents of same are now dead - 1 penny a day --- I shall be a millionaire (in pennies!)) I emerged with a discarded trash container and kicking an escaping cool box back down the stairs, closed and bolted the door.
Back in the garage, I set to with a semi sharp knife and full on swearing as I attempted to push the former through the trash can. In only minutes I was sweating and mutinous and vowing to wake the vet up, then I considered the cost of getting him out on a Sunday - that's enough to sober anyone up!
Well, cutting a long trash can short, I fixed up something that looked remarkably like Frankenstein's monster-but it works
Not sure Barnaby's happy about it thought ...

Tails” from the Doghouse…
The Social Experiment and its unexpected results!
Those of you whom have followed “Tails” may require some clarification on a point raised recently by my brother, namely that how do we get the cone on? Surprisingly enough, I don’t bash the thing over his head using a 5lb hammer as stated in my reply! It slips neatly over the ears and stays there without any other means of fastening!
One of the problems of accepting a rescue dog into your life and being owned by him, is that one has no idea what socialization with other canines has taken place. The one thing we did know was that when we introduced “Willow”, a three year old Golden Lab, only swift intervention prevented bloodshed and loss of ears or paws! So we were suffering trepidations to have Janet’s dog, Sarah, staying overnight.
We first allowed them to meet on the leash, which meant we got to separate them from impending violence, we then walked them together and this was a qualified failure, as opposed to the unqualified success we were hoping for.
Today, upon their return, we allowed a spot of Sniff & Whiff – which passed amiably enough. After only a small glass of Scotch for the owners, caution was thrown to the wind and we let them off-leash in the Stalag and we all stood to watch.
There was sniffing, and you know what dogs are, so you know where! Then there was playful banter and excited running, there was prodigious peeing, one upon the others and in some cases topped by the original pee-er! (The doggie equivalent of one-upmanship I suppose!)
Finally Barnaby shoved his nose too close to where it was not wanted and got his nose nipped at – he retreated.
We opened the door and they both came in, Sarah, being about 98 yrs old, snatch the opportunity to have a nap on the floor next to Janet. Barnaby took the opportunity to snatch a sniff in an area out of bounds of Sarah – a short sharp shock was taught to Barnaby – who retreated and since then they’ve become tolerant of each other. Sarah the old dog has taught the young upstart that sticking your cold nose where it ain’t wanted can get you hurt.
A fact that’s escaped me all these years apparently …

've retired - after 44 years of trucking about, carrying everything from a fiberglass elephant to an MRI unit for the Boston Children s Hospital - I've done. Driving a truck in 30 something countries for 44 years has taught me one thing - why I'm so heartily sick of it! I've met some wonderful people and people to whom I've wished a wonderful end, mostly involving sharks (which saves the expense of a funeral) I have actually seem someone changing a wheel in the outside lane of a motorway in thick fog - a man kill himself in front of me - and people stop on a high speed road to let the ducklings cross it!
I've seen bears and moose, elk and bobcat and thousands of drivers that don't have the common sense of any of them.
People might call me jaded, or that I have the healthy contempt of the professional for the amateur - you're damned right!
All of my "near misses" have been instigated by the other driver, my ability to avoid these situations in the first place and to have an escape route in the event of trouble I credit to one thing - the time I spent in the classroom and on the road with the Staffordshire Police Driving Awareness Program that I participated in nearly 40 years ago - they taught me, amongst many things,
"If in doubt - Wait!" and every time I observed a situation developing I could still hear the Instructor's voice in my head saying it - so its thank to that man, name long forgotten, that has got me to this point - home safely.
So many thanks to the Staffordshire Police Driving School - I hope someone passes this to them ...

Ha! Have enrolled Barnaby for puppy training! 
Ha-ha - "puppy" wait till they see this guy 30" high and 130 lbs of "cute little puppy" 
Have met the instigator, a woman who can shout and stop cows giving milk at a thousand yards!
Seen the place and the proliferation of rules stuck up everywhere ...
I have one week to the first class, between now and then I have "homework" - Yes, you can see how this is working can't you? It's me that's being trained, the dogs just the means. (Which accounts for Managements grin!) Homework consists of me sitting on the garage floor - next to the mat that Barnaby gets! - and hand feeding him ("Find somewhere quiet") all the time telling him "what a good boy/dog/sweetheart/insane chomping machine ..."
for 5 minutes each day. The point of this exercise is to "settle or bond" with ones canine. Well lets go the whole hog then, some soft music, candles and a glass or two of bubbly over a bloody steak!

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